New volleyball coach discusses her path to GW and the 2017 season
Colonials add three freshmen and a graduate transfer to roster
Colonials to play 14 matches at home in first season under new head coach Sarah Bernson
Former American assistant to lead Colonials as ninth head coach in program history
Bernson comes to GW after serving as assistant coach at nearby American University for the past five seasons. During her tenure at American, Bernson helped the Eagles to a dominant stretch that includes a five-year record of 136-36 (.795), four consecutive Patriot League championships and four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2013, the Eagles rolled through the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament with 3-0 sweeps over Georgia and Duke to make the program's first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.
"Sarah is a great fit to lead GW Volleyball into the 2017 season and beyond," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero. "She carries championship experience and was a key part of American's four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including the deepest run in program history. She also has head and assistant coaching experience helping to lead Cornell to three conference titles and a pair of NCAA Tournaments. We know she will be a great fit for our program and will do a great job developing our student-athletes both on and off the court."
"I'm honored to be joining the George Washington Athletic Department and am excited to lead the Colonial volleyball team," said Bernson. "Patrick Nero and Tanya Vogel have an impactful vision for the program moving forward and I thank them for this opportunity. With GW Volleyball's strong position in the Atlantic 10, I'm eager to work with the team, connect with the community and recruit for the future."
At American, Bernson played a large role in recruiting, training and operations and helped in the development of six All-Patriot League selections, two Freshmen of the Year and one Libero of the Year.
She also has served as the head coach for the Rising Tide of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), USA Volleyball's professional league, where she has coached former GW Volleyball players such as Maggie Skejelbred '16, Lauren Whyte '13 and Candace Silva-Martin '13.
Prior to her time at American, Bernson spent eight years at Cornell University, including three seasons as head coach, where she helped lead the Big Red to a trio of Ivy League Championships (2004-06) and two NCAA Tournament appearances. While at Cornell she also recruited and developed the program's first-ever All-American and all-time kills leader.
She also had a collegiate coaching stop at Cal State Monterey Bay (Assistant Coach, 2001-04) where she helped in the school's transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II.
Bernson played collegiately at Saint Mary's (Calif.) where she was a team captain as a senior. She earned her bachelor's degree in English and Art in 1999.
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